So, here's some old news – many Samsung phones come with the Facebook app pre-installed and you can't delete it, just merely "Disable" it. However, in light of recent revelations that many Android apps may be phoning Facebook with personal user data without any consent, the issue of Facebook coming preloaded on some phones with no option to remove it is again coming to public attention.
Bloomberg, photographer Nick Winke shares his concerns about the situation. Winke bought a Samsung Galaxy S8 when it was introduced in 2017. The phone came with the Facebook app preloaded, which he, like most people, didn't mind. He used Facebook for some time to get in touch with friends and share his works with others, but at some point, Winke decided to get off of Facebook and tried to remove the app from his phone. Only he couldn't outright delete the app, just disable it.In a recent interview with
Naturally, the photographer was confused as to what "disable" meant and whether this entailed the app ceasing all functions. And if it did, why couldn't he just remove it from his phone?
“It just absolutely baffles me that if I wanted to completely get rid of Facebook that it essentially would still be on my phone, which brings up more questions,” Winke said in a Bloomberg interview. “Can they still track your information, your location, or whatever else they do? We the consumer should have say in what we want and don’t want on our products.”
Of course, this is old news to long-time Samsung phone users — at least to those who've tried getting rid of Facebook — as the app comes preloaded on certain models, even non-carrier specific unlocked units and it can't be deleted.
The newly-sparked interest in Facebook's deal with certain phone makers to include a "permanent" app on their phones has prompted many to question the real reasons behind this, other than "to save you the trouble of downloading Facebook."
According to a Facebook spokesperson, who commented on the matter, "the disabled version of the app acts like it’s been deleted, so it doesn’t continue collecting data or sending information back to Facebook." The company further claims that whether the app is removable depends on pre-install deals Facebook has made with various phone manufacturers, OS providers, and carriers. What this means exactly is unknown, but Facebook says it is meant to give the consumer "the best" phone experience right after opening the box. The company has also declined to provide a full list of its partners, saying availability varies by region
Whether this renewed interest in Facebook's permanent app agreements with various companies would prompt a reaction from the biggest social networking platform, remains to be seen. Facebook has been under fire over the last year over multiple security breaches and data privacy scandals, and the permanent app issue is now being brought to wider attention on social media.